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  1. #1
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    Revised query letter

    Hello. I have put a previous query, and I received some really good feedback. I have made some big changes. If you have any comments, would you please mention them? Please be harsh! Thank you so much for all your help!

    I do not have a hook or title at this time, but I am working on it. The following is just the main part of the query. Thanks so much.
    -----

    [Title] is a psychological novel at 100,000 words. The novel traces the entangled lives of three war-damaged people stranded in an abandoned villa in the midst of the Guatemalan Civil War.


    Hugo, an anthropologist, has just endured years of torture and imprisonment because of a false accusation of espionage. Once an optimistic and loving man, he begins to despise the world and becomes obsessed by hate and revenge, cumulating in a sadistic murder. At the villa, he tries to reinvent himself and is torn between two personas: One of a genteel scholar, and the other of a vengeful killer.

    A former spy, Estella obsessively cares for Hugo, her only surviving victim, in an effort to atone for her bloody past. How many lives have I destroyed? How many people did I kill? Why? Is it possible to be forgiven for so much sin? She struggles to deal with these questions.

    At the center is Katie, a woman who travels into the most dangerous, war-torn areas of the country to rescue her husband Hugo—only to discover that he can no longer love her. Heartbroken and depressed, she finds comfort by probing their interweaving pasts, writing a haunting memoir that she only comes to terms with half a century later.



  2. #2
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    Re: Revised query letter

    Thank you so much for your help.

  3. #3
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    Re: Revised query letter

    Hello. Would anyone mind commenting on this query? Thanks so much.

  4. #4
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    Re: Revised query letter

    "Psychological novel" is not a genre.

    You never say the novel "traces", "follows", "explores", etc. Just show what your novel does.

    "At the villa, he tries to reinvent himself and is torn between two personas: One of a genteel scholar, and the other of a vengeful killer." Is Hugo REALLY torn about being a "vengeful killer"? I would hope not.

    Third paragraph starts with "At the center is Katie...". Is she your MC? If so, start your query with her. What does she want? What's standing in her way?
    What does she stand to lose if she doesn't get what she wants?

    Do not switch into your character's voice by asking the agent questions she would ask.

    "...she finds comfort by probing their interweaving pasts,..." This does not sound like something ANYONE would find "comfort" in. And "interweaving" just sounds awkward.

    "...writing a haunting memoir that she only comes to terms with half a century later." What does this mean? Is this the climax of your tale?

    Lack of claritty and a hook won't get you far with this version.

  5. #5
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    Re: Revised query letter

    Sam English Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > "Psychological novel" is not a genre.
    >
    > You never say the novel "traces", "follows",
    > "explores", etc. Just show what your novel does.
    >
    > "At the villa, he tries to reinvent himself and is
    > torn between two personas: One of a genteel
    > scholar, and the other of a vengeful killer." Is
    > Hugo REALLY torn about being a "vengeful killer"?
    > I would hope not.
    >
    > Third paragraph starts with "At the center is
    > Katie...". Is she your MC? If so, start your query
    > with her. What does she want? What's standing in
    > her way?
    > What does she stand to lose if she doesn't get
    > what she wants?
    >
    > Do not switch into your character's voice by
    > asking the agent questions she would ask.
    >
    > "...she finds comfort by probing their
    > interweaving pasts,..." This does not sound like
    > something ANYONE would find "comfort" in. And
    > "interweaving" just sounds awkward.
    >
    > "...writing a haunting memoir that she only comes
    > to terms with half a century later." What does
    > this mean? Is this the climax of your tale?
    >
    > Lack of claritty and a hook won't get you far with
    > this version.


    Thank you so much for those helpful suggestions. I will improve on it. Again, thanks so much.

  6. #6
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    Re: Revised query letter

    This version is all telling, no showing, and that means, among other things, that your characters never come to life. It's almost as though it were written by somebody who'd read the book, but wasn't involved in writing it. It's almost as though you're distancing yourself from your own novel. Show us what happens and give us at least a taste of your authorial voice because, in the long run, it's the quality of the writing that sells, not the story.

  7. #7
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    Re: Revised query letter

    Try this:

    After years of torture and imprisonment, anthropologist Hugo, exist as two men struggling to come to terms with his emotions: genteel scholar or bloodthirsty killer. Spy Estella, battles her guilt ridden conscious seeing Hugo, the only person she couldn't kill, as the object of her obsession. Journalist Kate, travels to places that most men won't go only to find that the only man she cared for doesn't love her anymore. Alone, Katie finds comfort by probing their interweaving pasts, writing a haunting memoir that she only comes to terms with half a century later.

    It's a start at least.

  8. #8
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    Re: Revised query letter

    Thank you everyone for your helpful comments. All your comments were very helpful. Once again, thanks so much.

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